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RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) — A California Highway Patrol officer was killed and two officers others wounded during a “long and horrific gun battle” at a traffic stop on a freeway near Los Angeles, authorities said Tuesday. The driver of a pickup truck who reached into his vehicle for a rifle and opened fire also was killed as frightened motorists ran for cover.
Officer Andrew Moye, Jr., died in the gunfight as dozens of bullets flew Monday afternoon just off a freeway in Riverside, east of Los Angeles. Other drivers ran for cover and two people suffered minor injuries.
The two surviving officers are in critical and serious condition, respectively, Riverside Police Officer Ryan Railsback said Tuesday. He would not identify them but said they are expected to survive.
KABC-TV reported that a man identified the shooter as his son, Aaron Luther, 49, of neighboring Beaumont.
“We don’t know his motive for this crime,” Riverside Police Chief Sergio Diaz said. Investigators were still gathering evidence, Tuesday morning.
A CHP officer was doing paperwork to impound the pickup truck when the man reached in, grabbed a rifle and fatally wounded the officer, authorities said. Railsback said he didn’t know what prompted CHP officers to initially stop the truck.
“I am devastated by the tragedy,” CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley said in a tweet.
Relatives said Moye was 33 and had been with the CHP for about four years.
“He was so kind,” his stepmother, Debbie Howard, told KTVU-TV. “You’re not going to hear one bad word about him. He loved this job.”
Dennis Luther, the father of the suspected shooter, said he watched the events unfold on television. “It’s hard. I love him. And I’m sorry for the policeman,” he told KABC-TV. “I’m devastated. I just can’t believe it.”
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